Retrofit Turns Wine Cellar into Media Room

A 20-inch CRT and beanbag chair get kicked to the curb in favor or Sharp flat-panel TV and a surround sound system.

Arlen Schweiger · May 23, 2011

Not every basement renovation needs to be a house-shaking turnaround. An upgraded flat-panel display, satellite-subwoofer surround sound system and improved décor often suffice.

Such was the case in this North Carolina home, in which the basement primarily served as a place for wine storage and little else. The 20-inch CRT television and beanbag chair didn’t exactly invite an evening of music, movie and wine tasting, so the owners thirsted for a more current vintage of fine electronics.

Local custom pro Harmony Interiors of Asheville, N.C., came to the rescue on this retrofit project by installing a delectable selection of audio, video, media management, controls, acoustical treatment and furnishings.

“There were certainly a few challenges - no modern wiring in place, low ceilings and hard acoustic surfaces, to name a few,” says Harmony’s Scott Varn. “And yes, the old CRT was the first thing to go.”

According to Varn, the aesthetic taste of the owners leaned toward simplicity and modern style. Designing a room around clean lines and electronic components that looked as good as they performed were key. Particular pieces helped solved the latter issue.

“Two elements came together quickly,” Varn notes. “First, as soon as we saw the Sharp Special Edition TV with a black leather bezel and chrome accents we knew it was the right choice. The second was Tannoy’s beautiful Arena speakers and subwoofer, with exceptional styling, made in piano black and chrome.”

Regarding the flat panel, Varn assures that the bezel is “not as ‘biker’ as it may sound, but rather a contemporary industrial design” perfect for the room design. And at 65 inches, the Sharp set provides more than ample viewing pleasure while maintaining the look and feel of a traditional room over a grander dedicated theater.

Photos: Retrofit Turns Wine Cellar into Media Room

The Tannoys, employed in an array of wall-mounted satellite LRs, center channel, in-ceiling surrounds and subwoofer, offer both stylish presentation and solid performance, says Varn. “The dual-concentric driver technology used by Tannoy also provided the quality sound required in a very small footprint,” he adds.

To aid in achieving optimal sound, Harmony installed Auralex Sonosuede Pro Panels that blend in almost as art on the wall, and added area rugs to offset the floor’s hard surface. “Again - modern, simple and clean,” Varn says.

Harmony housed the electronics in a BDI Avion media cabinet that further enhances the décor, and even replaced the reflective top with a material made from recycled sunflower seeds. The owners can operate A/V via an MX-3000 universal controller while they sip vino from the new leather seating. Even the wine racks got a bit of retrofit treatment, as they were painted black to match the modern design of this appetizing new palate.

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  About the Author

Arlen Schweiger is managing editor of CE Pro, Commercial Integrator and Security Sales & Integration magazines. Arlen contributes installation features, business profiles, manufacturer news and product reviews. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Arlen at

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  Article Topics

News · Installation · Retrofit · Sharp · All Topics
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